Klopp unimpressed by VAR after lengthy delays

Klopp unimpressed by VAR after lengthy delays

HERNING • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said he is no longer sure the use of video assistant referee (VAR) technology is good for football after Wednesday’s Champions League match against Midtjylland was interrupted three times in the second half, causing long delays.

The Group D tie was a dead rubber as the Reds had already advanced to the last 16 as group winners, so the visitors fielded an experimental side in Denmark.

Klopp gave Leighton Clarkson his full debut in the competition and fellow academy player Billy Koumetio his first appearance off the bench.

But the match, which ended 1-1 after Mohamed Salah’s strike was cancelled out by a second-half penalty by Alexander Scholz, was marred by VAR checks.

The incident which led to the hosts’ equaliser had to be reviewed, while the action was also halted as the system disallowed goals for either side late on.

Although Klopp agreed with all three decisions, he expressed his concerns about the amount of time players had to wait on the pitch in wintry conditions.

“I used to be one of the people who said VAR is a good idea, I’m really not sure if I would say that again to be honest,” he told reporters.

“It just took too long. I think in the end, I didn’t see it back, the decisions were right but it was so difficult, it took three or four minutes and it was cold for the boys.”

Klopp was, however, happy with the spirit shown despite making eight changes from the side who smashed Wolves 4-0 in the Premier League last weekend.

Salah, just one of three players retained, nabbed his 22nd Champions League goal, surpassing former captain Steven Gerrard as the club’s record scorer in Europe’s elite club competition.

“Exceptional player, absolutely exceptional player,” Klopp said.

“Since we (have) worked together, obviously a lot of things (have) clicked really for all of us.

“He helps the team massively, and he knows and appreciates the help of the team as well.”

Elsewhere, Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola also hailed the contributions of his key striker, Sergio Aguero.

The Argentinian international, making only his fifth appearance of the season due to injuries, came off the bench to poke home from close range as City brushed aside Marseille 3-0 at the Etihad.

Guardiola’s men confirmed their place in the last 16 as Group C winners and on Aguero, who took his Champions League goals tally to 41, the Catalan said “his instinct to score goals will always be there”.